The Month of Overseas Filipinos is celebrated every year in December to recognize Filipinos living overseas who have contributed to the restoration of democracy in the Philippines and the development of the country through their hard work, taxes, and remittances. Many people face hardships when they move to a foreign country, like having to speak a new language, encountering wildly different cultures, and navigating through various new customs. This month serves to appreciate the challenges faced by Filipinos who have not only made it in foreign lands but also helped their brothers and sisters back home.
History of The Month of Overseas Filipinos
Leaving your homeland, the place where you grew up and where everything and everyone you know lives, can be difficult. But many people do it for the opportunity that it provides to support a different life for their children.
An overseas Filipino is any person of full or partial Filipino origin — that is, people who trace their ancestry back to the Philippines but reside outside the country.
Since the Immigration Act of the United States changed in 1965, the number of people in the U.S. of Filipino ancestry has grown exponentially and in 2007, there were around 12 million Filipinos living overseas.
In 2013, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas estimated that about 10.2 million people of Filipino descent lived or worked abroad. This number makes up around 11% of the Philippines’ population. It’s one of the largest diaspora populations, spanning more than 100 countries.
In June 1988, the then president of the Philippines, Maria Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino signed Proclamation No. 276 declaring December 1988 and the same month, every year after that as the Month of Overseas Filipinos. It gives recognition to the Filipinos living overseas who have contributed to the restoration of Philippine democracy and the development of the country through their hard work, taxes, and remittances.
In 2007, then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Administrative Order No. 202 creating the Inter-Agency Committee. This was done to celebrate the Month of Overseas Filipinos with the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (P.M.R.W., an umbrella organization of migrant civil society organizations) as Chair and the C.F.O. as Co-Chair.
The Month of Overseas Filipinos timeline
Homo sapiens begin migrating from the African continent and populating parts of Europe and Asia.
The liberalization of immigration laws in the U.S. allows many Filipinos to move there.
There are 3.4 million Filipinos in the United States, including those of partial descent, making them the second-largest Asian-American group in the country at the time.
Overseas Filipinos send back $32.2 billion to the Philippines.
The Month of Overseas Filipinos FAQs
Which country has the most influence on the Philippines?
It’s one of the most westernized countries in Southeast Asia with a unique blend of eastern and western cultures. Both Spain and the United States colonized the country and have had the most significant influence on Philippine culture.
Who is considered an overseas Filipino worker?
An Overseas Filipino Worker is anyone from the Philippines who is living and working in another country, generally temporarily.
Which country has the most Filipino immigrants?
The United States is home to the largest number of Filipinos abroad with over four million people. Other top destinations include Saudi Arabia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and Japan, according to mid-2019, United Nations Population Division estimates.
How to Observe The Month of Overseas Filipinos
Take a trip abroad
Book your tickets and visit the Philippines, as a Filipino, to see how some of your countrymen are living. If instead, you’re not a Filipino, visit the country to tour its many islands.
Show off your heritage
Proudly show off your Filipino heritage if you’re currently living overseas. Dress in traditional wear, or cook up some delicious dishes from your homeland.
Share it with your friends
Let the world know you’re proud to be a Filipino. Introduce your culture to your friends and share it on social media.
5 Facts About The Philippines That Will Blow Your Mind
It has many languages
Over 175 languages are spoken in the country.
The world’s longest navigable underground river
It was created millions of years ago and stretches 15 miles beneath the mountains of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
Three of the world’s largest shopping malls
They are S.M. Megamall, S.M. City North E.D.S.A., and S.M. Mall of Asia.
People love basketball there
It’s the home of Asia’s first Basketball League.
Great place to go pearl shopping
Three of the world’s largest pearls have been found in the Philippines.
Why The Month of Overseas Filipinos is Important
There are many Filipinos
The month affects and recognizes a lot of people. According to a study done in 2019, there were nearly 12 million overseas Filipinos.
They help the economy
Overseas Filipinos help stimulate the country’s economy through their taxes and remittances. In 2019, Overseas Filipinos sent back $32.2 billion to the Philippines, thus boosting the economy.
They showcase their culture abroad
Filipinos are proud of their culture wherever they go and their traditions have spread all over the world. It’s not surprising to find several Philippine restaurants around the world serving up classics like Adobo, Lechon, and Sisig.
The Month of Overseas Filipinos dates